China’s trade with North Korea up by more than 10% since January
CHINA’S trade with isolated North Korea rose more than 10 percent in the January-June period from a year earlier, a Chinese official said yesterday, amid pressure from the US for Beijing to pressurise its troublesome neighbour.
Last week US President Donald Trump denounced China’s trade with North Korea, saying it had grown almost 40 percent in the first quarter, and cast doubt on whether Beijing was helping to counter the threat from North Korea.
China has repeatedly said it was fully enforcing UN sanctions on nuclear-armed North Korea and there was nothing wrong with what it terms “normal” trade with Pyongyang, referring to areas not covered by sanctions.
Chinese customs spokesperson Huang Songping told a briefing on China’s overall trade figures that total trade with North Korea expanded by 10.5 percent to $2.55 billion (R34.10bn) in the first six months of the year.
While China’s imports from North Korea dropped 13.2 percent to $880 million in the period from January to June, exports to North Korea rose 29.1 percent to $1.67bn, he said.
The exports were largely driven by textile products and other traditional labour-intensive goods not included on the UN embargo list, Huang added.
“As neighbours, China and North Korea maintain normal business and trade exchanges,” he said, adding that goods for ordinary people and those used for humanitarian reasons are not subject to sanctions. Overall trade growth with North Korea slowed in June, compared with previous second-quarter months. Trade in dollar terms with North Korea rose about 12 percent in June from a month earlier to $499m, according to calculations based on previously released data. The calculations do not reflect revisions to earlier figures that may not have been announced.
In May, trade with North Korea gained 14.5 percent from April to $443.5m, previously released customs data show.